Tessa dunked her biscotti into the hot coffee with such force that the coffee burst up out of the cup like a volcano erupting.
“Ah, crap!” Tessa said. She looked over the shoulder of her friend Wendy in horror that someone had seen her attack the coffee cup. Her lifelong fear of being caught at something offensive to others showed in the round red skin on her cheeks. Ever since she was singled out in school for daydreaming during a lecture, she was on guard all of the time.
Her friend Wendy also glanced around the café to see if anyone reacted, which they didn’t, and said carefully, “How was your date last night?”
Tessa picked up four napkins to mop up the mess. “Let me put it to you this way,” Tessa said. “On a scale of one to ten, it was a minus 14.”
Tessa set the coffee soaked napkins aside. “You won’t believe this, but he actually sorted the food on his plate and spit out pieces of it and made a pile of what he didn’t like.” Tessa took the last bite of her biscotti which she had saved from the coffee eruption.
“Food fetish,” Wendy said.
“Not only that, he talked on and on about some deal he was making for a sales lead for his company. It was so boring I could cry,” said Tessa.
“Must be a full moon,” Wendy said.
“Hear that.” Tessa refused to speak further on the topic. She and Wendy finished their conversation about work and family, then agreed to meet again for coffee in a few weeks to catch up.
The next month, Tessa sat in her usual spot with her back to the wall and facing the door of the café. Wendy arrived and saw that Tessa was grinning from ear to ear.
Wendy said, “You look pretty happy!”
“Well, it was unbelievable, really,” Tessa said. She picked up two fresh napkins and started fiddling with them.
“What do you mean? Another guy with a food disaster?” Wendy said.
“Oh, no. Not at all. In fact, it is a miracle. I actually had two dates with two different guys. And on the same night!” Tessa continued to fold and fuss with the napkins.
“How did you do that?” Wendy asked.
“It all happened so fast. I met Jason at the convention for my job. We went to the new Japanese restaurant and he was a perfect dream. He actually listened to me and asked some thoughtful questions. He made me laugh! We had such a good time.”
“Wow, he sounds like a keeper,” Wendy said.
“After the dinner, Jason had to catch a plane, so I met Bill for drinks at the salsa club, you know, over on High Street.” Tessa talked as she continued to fold the napkins.
“I know the place,” Wendy said, nodding her head to indicate the child at the next table who appeared to be very interested in what Tessa was doing with the napkin.
“Bill was a perfect gentleman. We danced and laughed. It all went very well,” Tessa said.
“Two dates in one night is like, I don’t know, a fantasy or something?” Wendy asked.
“I am not questioning it at all!” Tessa said.
“Must have been a full moon,” Wendy said.
“I’ll say. They were two of the best dates I’ve ever had.” Tessa held up the napkin and handed it over to the little girl at the table next to them. The girl looked delighted to see that the napkin was now transformed into a bird with long tail feathers.
About a month after that conversation, Wendy met Tessa as usual at the café. She was anxious to hear from Tessa how she managed dating two guys at once.
“Tell me about Jason and Bill,” Wendy said. “Did you date them both?”
“Yes, I had three dates for each. I started to like Jason much better than Bill. But then, last night, Jason called to say he was leaving town and wasn’t it fun and be sure to look him up some time if I ever get to Miami.”
“Oh, no!” Wendy said.
“Believe me, I never expected it. We got along so well. I told Bill that I was seeing someone else and cancelled our date. He’s really a nice guy and I hated to do it,” Tessa said.
“Maybe you could call him and explain.”
“And tell him what?” Tessa said. “I as much as told him to flake off.”
“Must have been a full moon,” Wendy said.
“You can say that again,” Tessa said.
Tessa and Wendy met once again at their regular coffee time at the café.
“It was the darnedest thing,” Tessa said.
“What? Wendy asked.
“Did you see that news article yesterday? Jason got arrested for fraud with his company! He’s gone to jail!”
“Oh, I don’t believe it.”
“I can believe it. He was too slick, too nice. I should have seen it sooner. I’m so glad he left. What would have happened if I stayed with him?” Tessa said.
“And what about Bill?” Wendy asked.
Tessa smiled. “Bill and I are dating again. We met by accident at the gym yesterday and talked it all out. I can really talk to him and he actually listens to me. He’s a great guy,” Tessa said.
Wendy tapped on her phone and said, “You’re not going to believe this, but the weather page says that…”
Tessa laughed, “Don’t tell me! It was a full moon!”
“Exactly,” Wendy said.
Copyright 2018 Laraine Mesavage